Last Tuesday, an Anne Arundel woman pleaded guilty to harboring an illegal immigrant and withholding wages upwards of $150,000 for housework from August 2006 until September 2014.
The Baltimore Sun reports that "Shingaidzo Nhekairo, 50, of Arnold pleaded guilty to 'unlawful employment of aliens' in U.S. District Court in Baltimore" on June 25.
Nhekairo forced the unidentified woman to watch after her children, prepare certain meals, and clean the household without pay.
How exactly did Nhekairo come in contact with the illegal immigrant? The Baltimore Sun's Phil Davis has the story:
According to a plea agreement, Nhekairo’s relative helped the immigrant — named only “E.M.” in the agreement — obtain a six-month tourist visa in August 2006 under the guise that “E.M.” would be traveling for a two-week vacation in Florida with her employer’s family.
The person was flown from Zimbabwe to JFK Airport in New York City then to Dulles Airport in Washington D.C., the agreement reads, where Nhekairo picked them up and drove both of them to her home in Hanover.
In addition to jail time, Nhekairo owes the woman, who she more or less kept as a slave for eight years, her full compensation.
Illegal immigrants being taken advantage of is nothing new in America. In 2016, an Indiana state legislator appropriately summarized why many individuals get trapped in this sort of abusive servitude:
"We’ve allowed a subculture which I consider modern day American slavery where we have people who come to this country to find a better life, they do so illegally, they’re paid below market wages, and they don’t live in freedom,” said Ind. Sen. Mike Delph, (R) Carmel. “They’re in constant fear for themselves and their family which invites exploitation. Not everybody exploits them, but there are employers that exploit them and there are criminal elements that exploit them, and that is offensive to the American ideals this country was founded upon.”
Nhekairo will be sentenced on January 13, 2020.